I’ve reviewed a bunch of AYANEO handhelds this year ranging from the super high-end AYANEO 2S to the most recent Android-based AYANEO Air Plus, but the company has just entered a brand new product line with the release of the AYANEO AM01 Retro Mini PC, which is also the first non-handheld that the company has released.
The AM01 is the first product in AYANEO’s new Remake line which also includes a range of handhelds, portable PCs and power banks which are based on retro tech products. In-case you couldn’t tell, the AM01 is based on the original Macintosh, and as an Apple fan, I’m going to go on the record and say that this is one of the nicest devices I’ve had the pleasure of putting on my desk.
All of the AYANEO unboxing experiences feel premium, but this one felt super special, with even the outer box feeling extremely Apple-like. The actual unit itself is about the size of 2-3 CDs stacked on top of each-other, and standing on its side looks exactly like a mini Macintosh, with the disc slot eject button acting as a power button, and a non-working screen featuring the iconic Apple smiley face.
It would have been nice to have some kind of working screen (which will feature in the AM02), but AYANEO has been nice enough to include a bunch of stickers that go over the top.
As far as ports go, you’ve got HDMI 2.0, Display Port 1.4, four USB-A ports (3 x 2.0 and 1x 3.2), ethernet as well as a USB-C port and a 3.5mm jack on the front, which can’t be used when the mini PC is standing up on its side.
The unit can either be ordered barebones for $220 USD ($33 0AUD) without any OS, ram or storage, and if you do get those bundled in, they can also be upgraded as well. It comes in two chipsets, including the Ryzen 3 3200U or Ryzen 7 5700U. I tested the 5700U/8GB/256GB version which is $270 USD ($399 AUD), which is super reasonable. It’s currently on Indiegogo where you can grab it now.
The PC comes loaded with Windows 11 and you’re even greeted with a very familiar feeling ‘Hello’ Apple-like wallpaper. It also comes pre-installed with the AYASPACE 2.0 software which can control a bunch of settings for the unit including TDP and fan usage, which you can set and forget with this product as it’s not a handheld, but it’s also great if you want to treat the PC like a gaming console or quickly change settings on the fly or monitor performance with the overlay.
As far performance goes, I can’t think of another mini PC that will go as far as this one does. It’s fantastic value for money. Honestly, I’d want it on my desk just for the stellar design alone, but it actually really surprised me when it comes to performance.
For everyday tasks or video editing, obviously it’s super capable, as well as playing indie games such as Dead Cells, Cocoon, Hades and Ori and the Will of the Wisps where I was able to get a solid 60FPS or beyond playing at 1080p.
When it comes to AAA gaming, it will be a little bit more limited. You’ll be able to play games like Elden Ring, Cyberpunk 2077 or God of War/Horizon Zero Dawn, but you’ll likely be dropping it to 720 on low settings and expect 30 FPS.
Emulation is really where this device shines though. Obviously older consoles such as the NES and SNES are an absolute breeze, but you can even run PS2 and GameCube games with a 3x resolution at 1080P at 60FPS. There are a few stutters here and there, but you can tweak the settings and end up with an experience that is absolutely fantastic.
As far as noise goes, it does ramp up at times, but most of the time it’s near whisper quiet, and given the size of the unit, this really surprised me.
AYANEO has really impressed me with its output this year. Every product that I’ve tested has oozed quality and almost been an improvement on the last, but the AM01 feels like the start of something special, both in design but also the value that it provides for the money.
THE AYANEO Retro Mini PC AM01 is an absolute slam dunk for AYANEO considering this is their first product that isn't a handheld. It has a fantastic nostalgic design and also provides great value for money for everyday computing and light gaming.